Jun 202015
 
My political days in the NYS Assembly, with Representative Robert J. Connor (Democrat, 96th Assembly District), 1976.

Then…. Working as a legislative aide for the New York State Assembly, 1976 (right). With Representaive Robert J. Connor (96th A.D.), center.

Come join me at L’Italo-Americano, my new soapbox for Italian cooking. My introductory essay, how I went from political aide to professional eater, is my Italian-American story, here.

Cooking at Kips Bay, NYC. | Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Cooking at Kips Bay, NYC. | Photo: Nathan Hoyt

Jun 162015
 
Rapini: Ultimate Italian Soul Food with 8 New Recipes for the Beloved Bitter Greens

You may know it as “broccoli rabe,” but any Italian will prickle at that mangled term for their beloved bitter greens. Here’s a crash course on how to pronounce it, cook it and love it, with eight terrific new recipes, read on….

May 302015
 
Grocers of Legend: From Fruit Stall to Food Empire and Embracing "Local"

Once upon time, there was Balducci’s, the grocery-cum-take-out market that started people thinking about real Italian cooking at the outset of America’s food revolution. Maybe they even started it, at least the Italian flank. NYC was the epicenter of the foment in those days and it sent shock waves across America. In the 1970s, when other “Italian” grocers were selling the usual American-Italian provisions and Italian-style restaurants were still thinking along the lines of tomato sauce and blankets of cheese on top of everything, or branding their restaurants “Northern Italian” (only the color of the sauce changed, from the perfunctory red to indiscriminate white), […more…]

May 132015
 
D'Ya Think the Italians Know How to Give a Party?  Arriverderci Pier Paolo!

A few weeks ago a message arrived in my inbox announcing that The Italian Trade Commissioner, Pier Paolo Celeste, is off to a new post in Moscow, and of course, there would be a little send-off. I don’t deny I was feeling sad about his leaving, as we’ll miss the creativity and vigor he brought while in New York City. Here’s to your mission in Moscow, Pier Paolo. Stay warm and in bocca al lupo! — You sure know how to give a party! Photos: ©Nathan Hoyt/Forktales 2015  

May 042015
 
Meating with the Stars at the Food Network Kitchen

When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually hesitate before answering. Writer? Journalist? Chef? Cook? Teacher? Story teller? Food advocate? Environmentalist? All of those descriptives are true for me, as they are for so many of us. Food can’t be separated from its source and what happens to it on its way to our plates. Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit that educates about a better food system and celebrates the best in American cooking, is made up of hundreds of chefs, cooks, growers, farmers, fisher people, ranchers, cheese makers, artisans, writers, reporters, publishers, educators, activists — and it’s a mighty brain trust. Its […more…]

Mar 302015
 
Victor Hazan Italianizes My Irish Stew

My readers will now and then offer comments on my recipes, but no one is more exacting than Victor Hazan, husband of and collaborator with the late Marcella Hazan and indeed himself a very fine cook. Here is a message he sent me about my Beef and Guinness Stew recipe, which I offered in my Zester Daily column for St. Patrick’s Day:  I followed it more or less scrupulously, save for some things an Italian cook wouldn’t go for, e.g. boiled potatoes served with their skins on. Che barbarità! I peeled and quartered them and threw them in with the meat after it had […more…]

Mar 192015
 
The Italian Answer to St. Patrick's Day is St. Joseph's, the Gorging Holiday

Just two days after the American Irish whoop it up on St. Patrick’s day, Lenten eating restrictions are lifted once again for the Italians to celebrate Father’s Day, the Feast of Saint Joseph (Festa di San Giuseppe). The foster father of Jesus, symbolic breadwinner, protector of Mary, patron saint of families, orphans, unwed mothers, and the indigent is reverenced with an orgy of eating, drinking—and most importantly, sweet gorging.  Joseph is by happenstance also the patron saint of pastry cooks. My grandfather was named Giuseppe, so this day held special meaning for us. Like other Italians, we celebrated with treats made only for this day, typically bigné (fried eclair with filled with […more…]

Mar 152015
 
The Art of the Stew, Irish Style — with Beef and Guinness

Hurry, go make yourself some “roasty” beef and Guinness stew. It might, just might, top its Italian counterpart. And if you don’t get around to it for St. Patrick’s Day, no need to suffer — make it any old time! My story, with recipe, in Zester Daily here .